Monroe, Lynnwood using traffic cameras near schools

LYNNWOOD — Some of those yellow lights flashing in school zones can carry a costly reminder.

In Lynnwood and Monroe, speed-enforcement cameras are back in session.

Enforcement hours vary by school, but the cameras are live again in Lynnwood at Meadowdale High School and Lynnwood Elementary, and in Monroe at Fryelands and Frank Wagner elementary schools.

Both cities also use traffic-enforcement cameras to nab drivers who roll through red lights.

Tickets for either infraction still cost $124, though Lynnwood’s camera tickets cost about twice that — $250 — for drivers who exceed 35 mph in school zones.

The devices remain controversial in Snohomish County and around the country. Other cities here flirted with installing enforcement cameras in recent years, but only Lynnwood and Monroe have ongoing programs.

The future of Lynnwood’s contract with Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions has been in limbo for nearly a year.

City Council members were supposed to decide in late 2011 whether to renew the multimillion-dollar agreement another five years. Instead, they’ve signed several temporary extensions and held a public forum in June to gather input.

The council hasn’t given any official indication of whether it expects to continue the program, or for how long.

Council members also have acknowledged that if the program ended, they’d likely have to find alternative revenues to avoid a resulting budget crunch.

Monroe’s program is likely to disappear.

In January, Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman said there was “zero” likelihood the city would continue its traffic-enforcement camera contract after it expires next year.

Monroe’s school-zone cameras ended up costing the city money last year after police canceled months of tickets because of printing errors made by the vendor, Redflex, also of Arizona.

This year, between January and June, Monroe’s camera program brought in about $81,900 in profit. Another advisory vote on whether Monroe should continue to use traffic cameras is scheduled to appear on the November ballot.

School zone cameras

Monroe and Lynnwood both have speed-enforcement cameras operating in school zones when school is in session. The speed limit in school zones in 20 mph. A speeding citation from a traffic-enforcement camera costs $124, though Lynnwood cameras can charge $250 if a driver’s speed exceeds 35 mph.

Monroe

Fryelands Elementary, 15286 154th St. SE, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Frank Wagner Elementary, 115 McDougall Ave., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How many school-zone citations were issued last school year?

4,352 between November 2011 and June 2012. (Police canceled all school zone tickets issued in September and October because of printing errors.)

How much money did they bring in?

Together, Monroe’s speed-zone and red-light cameras yielded $435,730 between August 2011 and June 2012.

Lynnwood

Lynnwood speed-enforcement cameras operate one hour before school starts to a half-hour after school starts, and a half-hour before school ends to one hour after school ends. They’re at Meadowdale High School, 6002 168th St. SW, and Lynnwood Elementary, 18638 44th Ave. W.

How many school-zone citations were issued last school year?

4,697

How much money did they bring in?

Together, Lynnwood’s red-light and school-zone cameras yielded $2.33 million between Sept. 6, 2011, and Sept. 5, 2012. Of that, $426,444 was from school zones.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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